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Interview | Justin Jesso

Sometimes it’s best to let life do its thing. Nobody knows this better than US musician Justin Jesso. After waiting for his breakthrough for years, his contribution as co-writer and vocalist on Kygo’s multi-platinum smash ‘Stargazing’ initiated the charismatic American’s position among the world’s most sought-after singers and songwriters. The track has now surpassed 700 million streams.


Justin Jesso released his touching new single “If You’re Meant To Come Back” earlier this month, a moving ballad which feeds on a reduced arrangement consisting of piano and Justin Jesso’s haunting voice. It’s a song about moving on, letting go and never losing hope – as painful as the circumstances may seem at first, because some scars heal while waiting for the happy ending.

“I’m always looking for answers and there’s one thing I’ve learned: You shouldn’t demand things from life too stubbornly. Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. The universe follows its own rules. The more desperate you wait or hope for something, the longer it might take. You have to be patient. Music has always helped me to better understand my emotions. Today, I’m glad if I’m able to support people and touch their lives with my songs.”

With almost 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Justin Jesso has worked with various international greats including Backstreet Boys, Madcon, Armin Van Buuren, Nina Nesbitt and Seeb, Justin was even nominated for a Latin Grammy as a co-writer for Ricky Martin’s No.1 record “Vente Pa’Ca (feat. Maluma)” in 2016. After releasing his debut EP in late 2018 Justin began a run of top charting radio singles in Europe, including his first single “Getting Closer”, off his debut EP, and “As Far As Feelings Go” with Alle Farben. Last year Justin collaborated with Nina Nesbitt on ‘Let it Be Me’, and Seeb on ‘Bigger Than,’ setting the stage for his powerful new single “If You’re Meant To Come Back” out now.

We had a chat with Justin...

Please introduce yourself and tell us something interesting about you! "Hi!  My name is Justin Jesso and something interesting about me is, well… its Corona time so i'm literally doing the same stuff everyone else is.. not the most interesting ha! … Im quarantined in Jupiter florida with my dog Elvis and my parents.   I just released a single if that’s interesting… its called if your'e meant to come back. OH, I can crack an egg with one hand and do the wave with my eyebrows!"

Your new track ‘If You’re Meant To Come Back’ was released earlier this month! The song is a ballad which is a different sound for you, how has the reaction been?  "I love ballads.  I just felt like It was the right time for the world to hear this one.  When I release music, I do it in the hope of reaching people emotionally.  I've gotten more tearful calls from friends and messages on instagram about how this song has affected them emotionally and that truly makes me happy.   I really hope it connects with more people, and helps us get through this difficult time."

Tell us a little about the track and the recording process!  "So I wrote this song with three friends of mine about a year and a half ago, Mac, Phil and Plested.  All Londoners.  I took a train 2 hours to Mac and Phil’s place in Swindon for the first time.  We all started chatting and Phil had just gotten back together with his girlfriend.  He said he had chatted with her a couple weeks ago and gave her this little speech: “No one knows where we will be in the future, but I know that ill be waiting for you… so i'll let you go to fill whatever hole you need to fill, and if you’re meant to come back to me, then you will.”  I turned to him and said: “dude, we have to write that song!” I found out after I wrote it that his girlfriend was actually a friend of mine from College, a songwriter named Emily Warren.  I was writing it thinking about my x girlfriend as well.  We had just broken up and the sentiment resonated with me.  Whether it's a person, or the love you had with a person… if its meant to come back to you, then it will.  I believe overall, its a pretty hopeful message. It certainly worked for Phil :) Shoutout to my other co writers, Matt (or Mac) -  an incredible producer and great dude, and Phil Plested, another awesome guy with some amazing skills as a singer songwriter.  I was very lucky to have such awesome collaborators on this song."

You rose to popularity with the release of your collaboration with Kygo, which has now surpassed an extraordinary 700 million streams. Do you feel pressure to come back with new releases after the success of that track? "Hahah, yes I do. But at the end of the day, I just have to release what speaks to me at the time, and hope that I am lucky enough that my new song reaches as many people as Stargazing.  Its really out of my control."

You have over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. Do you feel the current world of streaming and social media is helping artists to get noticed? "I do and I don’t… My favorite part about being an artist is being out in the world and interacting with people, performing for people… I think social media is a great tool to stay connected, and can definitely help with getting noticed, but it hasn’t replaced human interaction for me.  I think if you can hit the streaming algorithms it is super beneficial though :) (shameless plug, please save “If You’re Meant To Come Back” in your playlists and share it on social media and tag me :)"

You’ve worked with the likes of Nina Nesbitt and Seeb. What is it like working with other artists and do you feel you gain or learn something from them? "I love working with other artists!  Collaboration is so much fun. Ive been on the road on and off with Kygo for the past two years, so we have developed a great friendship.  The Seeb guys are the nicest, and we had a lot of fun working on Bigger Than together. They took the time to show me around Oslo a bit when I came to visit which was Lovely.  And Nina is just one of the best people.  Working with her is particularly fun because she’s so laid back and easy going and hilarious."

What’s next for you? "I wish I knew! Ha. Hoping to be releasing more music soon, and back on the road in 202? PC (post corona). Definitely some new music coming I am SUPER excited about, and maybe a couple of collabs along the way as well :)"


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